Wonton Battle: Hop Won vs. Oriental Noodle Shop
A couple of nights ago, I was treated to a homemade wonton dinner that my friend did. She invited few people over and served a couple of variations on wontons (pork and fish). Lucky for us, she did most of the work so all I had to do was arrive, sit down and eat. Ever since then, I’ve been dreaming about good wontons. I know the stuff they serve in restaurants will rarely be as good as the ones my friend made. So I wasn’t hoping for much when I got a wonton noodle soup at Hop Won (45th btw Lex+3rd).
At Hop Won you get a decent amount of everything for just $5.50. At the very bottom you have the typical wonton noodles. Surprisingly they still had some snap to them even though they’ve been sitting in the broth. There was a lot of different veggies on the top (greens, carrots, cucumber and bean sprouts) that gave some nice texture to the lunch. As for the wontons (you get 6), they were a little mushy, but perfect in size and tasted alright. The balls of pork inside the wonton skin had the right amount of meat but were a little tough and dry. As for the broth it was dark and had a hint of beefiness to it.
Then the following day, to make things more interesting, I thought it might be nice to try the wonton noodle soup from Oriental Noodle Shop (45th btw Lex+3rd) as well to see which restaurant makes a better wonton noodle soup (since both restaurants are so close to one another, I had to find out!)
For $7.35, the tub of wonton noodle soup from Oriental Noodle Shop was just terrible. In the container there were 11 wontons but they were half the size of Hop Won’s, very mushy, and tasted artificial. While the wonton skin at Hop Won held together, the wonton skin from Oriental Noodle Shop had pretty much broken up into pieces leaving many naked pork balls floating in the container. Everything else was pretty bad as well. The noodles had lost all their snappiness, the broth was light and bland and had only a few pieces of greens on top. Though the meal did come with a fortune cookie.
A good wonton needs to have a slight snap from the shrimp and good pork flavor from the meatball. The skin can’t be too thick or too thin. Obviously I didn’t find the wontons I was looking for at Hop Won (I may just stick with their broccoli and chicken and roast pork over rice) or Oriental Kitchen (where I like their chicken bun). I’m not even sure I can find good wontons near where I work (do I have to trek all the way to Main Noodle House for some killer wontons?) Do any fellow Lunch’er like wontons? If so where do you get them from?
Hop Won, 139 E. 45th St. (btw. Lex+3rd), 212-661-4280
Oriental Noodle Shop, 135 E 45th St btw. 3rd & Lex (212) 697-2353